Various design questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Lady Nilstria, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Lady Nilstria

    Lady Nilstria Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Greetings! ^_^

    Right now, though my indoor run where I keep my 19 hens at night is large (12x20x10), it isn't very practical. The floor is red stable sand, which works fantastically, but that's not really the problem. I have a closed coop (2x5x2.5) for new chicks, and the hens like to sit on top of it, but they don't have any actual nesting boxes or good roosts.

    1. So, what are the recommended nest box dimensions for a standard sized chicken, and for a bantam?
    2. What is the best width for a roost? Would oak branches work, and if so, what diameter?
    3. Should I be getting bantams (I want some silver sebrights), what is a good house size for, let's say, one roo and four hens?
    4. I have goats, and the younger ones can get through the chicken door and eat the chicken food, therefore, I let the hens out in the morning, and shut the door until I let them back in in the evening. Is this detrimental to them, since they have five acres of fenced in/predator free range? Would keeping them out of the coop for the entire duration of the day cause them to be mentally or physically effected? (They have a few favorite nesting sites in the rest of the barn, but I want the best for my tiny ladies.)

    Thank you. ^_^
     
  2. BrackenFarms

    BrackenFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i was told yesterday to make sure that i used a roost pole bigger than 3/4 in becasue if it is too small then it will cause them to grow a crooked breast bone... i use mountain laurel branches oak should work fine too mine are approximately 2 inches in diameter
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2009
  3. Chickenfortress

    Chickenfortress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can help on some.
    1... My first nest boxes were 12 x 12, its way too cozy in there, and eggs get broke. 16 x 16 worked out much better. Also, because I put a sloping roof on them the dividers didn't go all the way to the top. That was a big mistake since they will fight over the partitions. They also use that spot as an alternative entrance when a broody is good at keeping them out of the main gate.
    2... A branch will work, but has its limitations. The flat side of a 2x4 is much better. Its easier for them to stay on because they don't need to grip. The biggest plus for them is that they are flat. When a roosting bird is cold, and the perch is round, its toes stick out from the feathers. Imagine sleeping on a cold night with your feet out of the blankets. When we got down to -20 here I even put strips of carpet remnants on the roosts to insulate their feet from the cold wood. They get taken out and trashed when dirty. Another point is 2x4s are easier to attach than branches.
    3... Don't know on this one, I always overbuild.
    4... To keep out the smaller goats put up a short fence around the coop entrance. Make sort of a courtyard for the birds to have as their own when they emerge, and the little goats will be stymied. The door will keep out the ones who can clear the fence. Chickens can get over a 24 - 30 inch fence with no problem. If you need, you can put in a stile instead of a gate. It's a lot cheaper to produce, and very effective against animal passage. I'd make sure the birds have access at any time to escape danger, lay late eggs, etc.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I like 2x4's, wide side up with the corners rounded down a little if they're real sharp, or a 5-6" diameter dead tree branch with the bark stripped. But you can vary considerably in either way and the chickens will survive. A narrower roost is not so good if you get cold enough witners that keeping toes warm is an issue.

    Is this detrimental to them, since they have five acres of fenced in/predator free range? Would keeping them out of the coop for the entire duration of the day cause them to be mentally or physically effected?

    If they have plenty of places to seek shelter from weather, temperature and dogs, it should not be a problem from that perspective.... BUT, you will lose most of your eggs as being laid under some bush somewhere you never find them. Surely there must be a way to make a gate or other entryway that the chickens could get in but the goat can't? Chickens can fly whereas goats IIRC can't so much? [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat​
     
  5. Lady Nilstria

    Lady Nilstria Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Thanks for the replies!

    I asked about oak branches because I probably have about a hundred oak trees on my property, and because the formers owners were deranged, most of them are dying from being choked out by briar for so long. 2x4's are expensive, whereas I can find a suitable branch anywheres. [​IMG]

    The door to the coop is a solid 3x8, so I'm thinking of cutting it in half like the other barn doors. The chickens have no problems with those, and it would solve the goat problem.

    Actually, Pat, I have absolutely no problem with loosing eggs, as I have no bushes for them to lay under. >_> The goats have eaten them, and we've had almost no rain in the past five months, so there's nothing to lay in, beside the hay in the barn, where they do.

    Our winters are very mild, and almost over actually. [​IMG] It's getting up to 75 degrees today, and about 35 at night. Because of lack of suitable roosting, my chickens actually huddle together in one corner like sheep, regardless of the temperature.
     

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